“They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD.” -Genesis 3:8
Read Genesis 3:8-19
The opening two chapters of Genesis are oozing with warmth and excitement. God is rather like a playful inventor working intently in his workshop, and Adam and Eve emerge as his crowning achievement. Nowhere do we find the slightest hint of separation, brokenness or despair—not until Genesis 3 when the celebration suddenly stops.
Most of us know what it is like to experience a shattered relationship: sibling rivalry escalating out of control, a marriage on the rocks or, as in my case, a close friendship gone sour. Before I ever knew what had hit me, I had been accused, judged and sentenced by someone very dear to me. Sadly, despite my various attempts at reconciliation, the friendship was—and remains—over.
Adam’s and Eve’s situation turned out differently, but not because of their own heroic efforts at bridge-building or peace-making. On the contrary, in what must be the first playing of hide-and-go-seek on record, they do all the hiding. God is the seeker who, as in Bethlehem centuries later, finds his people wherever they are.
As you read and reflect on the following devotionals that my colleagues and I have written for you, I pray that you will experience a new degree of hope and freedom. Above all, remember that Advent is not about you and me working feverishly to find our way home. Advent is about God embracing us as though we had never run away.
Lord Jesus, you are called “Immanuel” for a reason. We run and hide behind bushes. You pull back the branches and comfort our fears. Help us to abandon our hiding and dance with you again.
Terry L. Brensinger, Ph.D., President, Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary